Sunday, August 30, 2015

Let's See The Sights (and sites) On A Sunday Morning

Nothing like a bike ride to the Strip and downtown to keep up with things in Las Vegas.

Let's check out the sights.

On the 215 Beltway trail, it looks like a memorial of some is growing.

Looks like the arena behind NY-NY is coming along/

City of Las Vegas with some good ol' fashion street banner marketing.

This downtown law firm uses Tide.

The Downtown Project micro park is hanging in there, but they've moved to the plastic plants after the real ones turned to toast.

Remember, every traffic lane is a bike lane -- so no problems on Alta Drive.

This bike lane on Alta Drive just west of Rampart in front of Suncoast casino hotel is way too narrow.

As Usual, Florida Is Deadliest State For Bicyclists

We keep calling it "bicycle safety."

But it's really a "motorists killing bicyclists" issue. And once we understand that, and teach motorists to change their behavior, we can start lowering the bicyclist fatality rates in the U.S..

For as long as I could remember, the state of Florida was the number one state in the nation for bicyclist fatality rate.

Florida is the top bicyclist fatality rate again, according to this Tampa Tribune story.

I'm nearly three years removed from living in Florida.

But I will never forget the hostility by motorists toward bicyclists plus elected officials' reluctance to step up for bicyclists and devote public resources to bicycling (except for former Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe and former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker.)

When I lived in Tampa, the former mayor at the time, Pam Iorio, was no leader on the topic.

And when I lived in Tampa, the local Florida Department of Transportation office in Tampa blamed bicyclists for our deaths -- an obvious blaming the victim approach.

As I said in this story by the Tribune, an overhaul of motorist education to teach motorists from the start that bicyclists are part of everyday traffic is necessary. It means motorists will have to change the way they driver (stop driving so fast, careless, on their cell phones and inattentive).

When teens and young people want to drive cars, our state DMVs and DOTs can teach them to not engage in distracted and risky driving habits that imperil the lives of bicyclists and to understand that bicyclists are simply co-users of the public roadways.

This from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "While only 1% of all trips taken in the U.S. are by bicycle,1 bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injury and deaths than occupants of motor vehicles do.2 In 2013 in the U.S., over 900 bicyclists were killed and there were an estimated 494,000 emergency department visits due to bicycle-related injuries.3 Data from 2010 show fatal and non-fatal crash-related injuries to bicyclists resulted in lifetime medical costs and productivity losses of $10 billion.3"

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Pedaling Yentas Make It To The Top

What a motley bunch of pedalists -- Kevin the Review-Journal photo chief; along with two doctors, Scott and Ben, and, of course, Anthony, doctor of pizza-ology. Together, we're the pedaling yentas, a bunch of middle-age guys cycling at 8,000 feet in the Spring Mountains near Mount Charleston.

You're looking at a celebratory photo depicting the end of the climb, a mostly uphill 14 miles before we reversed field and headed back to the Spring Mountains Visitors Center on Kyle Canyon Road (about 6,600 feet elevation.)

We start biking up Deer Creek Road, which connects Kyle Canyon Road with Lee Canyon Road and eventually the Las Vegas ski center. Below is Anthony after biking about five miles up the mountain.

There's Kevin cycling on Deer Creek.

The docs -- Ben and Scott -- set the pace.

What amazing scenery.

Now, it's time for the descent and ride back to the visitors center.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Top 10 Things Motorists Should keep In Mind About Bicyclists In Nevada

Dear Gov. Brian Sandoval, Troy Dillard of the Department of Motor Vehicles and Rudy Malfabon of the Nevada DOT,

On Aug. 15, I sat near the back of a church in Las Vegas for the memorial for Matthew Robert Hunt. I never met Matt, but he loved bicycling and had recently started a bicycle touring business.

As a fellow bicyclist in las Vegas, I felt a kinship and wanted to pay my respects for Matt, who was riding his bicycle when he was killed by a motorist. He died Aug. 9 from injuries he sustained while bicycling on Aug. 3 in Las Vegas.

I was moved by the words of his mother, Cynthia Finnegan, who delivered a eulogy that focused on the things she learned from her son. Then, Matt's brother-in-law, Steven Thompson, offered a tribute. Not a dry eye in the church. Matt was 37 years old when he left a wife and two small kids.

Matt was the eighth bicyclist to be killed in Las Vegas this year. That's one a month in 2015 and I'm sure you agree it's disturbing trend.

So, what are we going to do?

I have a few ideas.

Ten, in fact.

It would be nice if you could share the word with motorists in Nevada:

1. I know, accepting change as an adult human being can be so hard but it’s time to accept that bicycles are here to stay on our roadways. The days of telling bicyclists to go and ride on the sidewalk are over. Which leads us to . . .

2. Bicyclists are part of traffic. Don’t tell bicyclists that they are slowing down traffic. Here’s why  . . .

3. Bicyclists are simply slower moving vehicles. They are co-users of the road. So . . .  

4. When passing a bicyclist, motorists are required to pass with a distance of at least three feet between your car and the bicycle. And you are supposed to move over a lane if there’s a second passing lane. Also . . .

5. Don’t get angry about seeing a bicyclist pedaling down the middle of a lane. Bicyclists are taught in classes to take the lane. That’s because on narrow traffic lanes, the lane width is too narrow to pass a bicyclist so simply wait until there is no oncoming traffic and pass the bicyclist then. And keep this in mind . . .

6. You’re concerned that you can’t drive as fast as you’d like if you are behind a bicyclist. A bicyclist is concerned that he or she will be run over by you. The weight of the concerns are not equal. And another thing to remember . . .

7. Yes, car motorists and bicyclists are co-users of the road, but your vehicle is a two-ton missile and a bicycle is a 25-pound moving vehicle. If your car strikes a bicyclist, it could mean death or a catastrophic injury.

8. Bicyclists take safety classes. Motorists also need education. Every 10 years, a motorist should be required to take a class on how to interact with bicyclists on the road.

9. Road exam should include a bicyclist on the course and if a motorist fails to properly pass or interact with a bicyclist, then it means a failed test.

10. Eight dead bicyclists in the first eight months of 2015 is unacceptable. But we can change this in the future with some education and a change of attitude.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Drainage, Las Vegas Style

Pedaling Yentas Return To The Red Rock Loop

The bicycling yentas were back in action this morning as Scott and Anthony returned from August trips and we yentad it up while pedaling up the steep hills of the Red Rock Scenic Loop.

Scott has returned from a trip to Alaska, which included taking a side plane ride to glaciers, spending time at a wildlife preservation clinic, watching bears munch salmons and bicycling parts of a 230-mile paved trail out if Anchorage.

Meanwhile,  Anthony caught us up on taking the family to Disneyland and taking his oldest son to Southern Utah University in Cedar City.

We're all from New York, so all conversations are held in New Yorkese, of course.

All the time, we're pedaling amid this


Friday, August 21, 2015

Relief To Summer Temps Are Here -- Especially At Dawn

It's August 21 and summer is moving into its final month.

It's been a blistering past week in metro Las Vegas with temps in the 105-110 during the day.

But the days are growing shorter and there's less light earlier in the mornings, which means it's also cooler. As in 71 degrees cooler as I biked on 159 out of Summerlin to the Red Rock Scenic Loop.

There were more bicyclists on the Loop than motorist at 6:30 a.m. Always a good sign.

I have already counted today as a good day because I have cycled the Scenic Loop.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

2 BLM Bridges = $5 Million

In three years I have not seen any wash flooding along the 13-mile Red Rock Scenic Drive.

But I suppose the Bureau of Land Management folks know better and the Federal Highway Administration paid $5 million (actually $4,938,837.60) for a company to build two bridges on the loop at Mile 3 and Mile 9.

Above is the first bridge, while below is the second bridge.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Crossing The Vegas Valley, From One Side to the Other

Most mornings I pedal into an through Red Rock Canyon for the scenery that attracts people from all points West.

But this morning, on a Saturday, I crossed the Vegas Valley from the west side of Summerlin to the end of the road on Washington Avenue on the valley's eastern tip.

It was a 43-mile ride with about 1,700 feet of elevation gain.

Near the top of Washington Avenue on the east side, I saw a house with that sign that leads this post.

You see the Red Rock Canyon photos all the time but here's a look at the rugged east side.

On the way back up Alta Drive to Summerlin, I sought shade under a pavilion and saw a fellow bicyclist-reader at Tivoli Village. It's important to note that the people who run Summerlin want you to know that Tivoli Village is NOT in Summerlin.

And man it was hot out there -- on Alta Drive near Buffalo it was 108 at 11:30 am

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Another Las Vegas Bicyclist Is Dead -- And Where's The Outrage?

People who know me know I bike everywhere.

I have bicycled across the country twice solo and have biked in every major city in the country except Atlanta, Dallas and Houston. There's not a place where I think you can't ride a bicycle.

So, people with good intentions are always telling me, "Be safe," when I take off on my bicycle.

Believe me, I'm trying to be safe out here.

But you can help me much better by doing this: Instead of telling me to "be safe" tell your fellow motorists when they're about to drive a car to slow down, respect bicyclists as fellow road users and traffic, focus on the road, look for bicyclists and pedestrians and stay the fuck off your cell phones when piloting a 4,000-pound bullet on wheels.

You'll have to excuse me if I feel a tad irritated these days about the state of bicycling in metro Las Vegas when an eighth bicyclist in 2015 was killed by a motorist in metro Las Vegas on August 3. Matthew Hunt, a married father of two, was conducting a bike tour for one bicycling customer on the Strip at 8 a.m. on a Monday when a 23-year-old woman driving a Ford Mustang drove into Matthew from behind.

Six days later on Sunday, Matthew succumbed to his head injuries sustained from being crashed into by the motorist.

Matthew should be leading bike tours this weekend. Instead, his family and friends will be mourning his loss and celebrating his life at a service on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church. Then, people will move on to a Celebration of Matthew's life at the Wyndham Grand Desert Resort at 265 E. Harmon from 3-6 p.m.

Matthew's death means that metro Las Vegas is averaging one dead bicyclist a month in 2015, an outrageously high number when even one death on a bicycle is one too many. About 750 bicyclists die every year in the U.S. -- along with about 35,000 motorists.

Responses from bicyclists and non-bicyclists to Matthew's death have varied from "increasing awareness" to bicyclists shouldn't be on the Strip to "was he wearing a helmet?" (yes he was.)

Here's the thing. Handing out helmets, lights and reflectors are fine. But motorists will continue to kill bicyclists (and get away with it with minimum punishment) as long as bicyclists are not seen as regular traffic.

The fact is there is neither the political will nor public dollars to build an independent bicycle trail system to get bicyclists every place they need to go.

That means bicyclists will be on the roads and that means motorists have to treat bicyclists AS EQUAL CO-USERS OF THE ROAD.

It means making a conscious effort to be aware for a profile of a bicycle and not just a car on the road and slowing down and respecting a bicyclist as a co-user who just happens to be driving a slower moving vehicle.

It means focusing your senses completely on the act of driving your two-ton metal bullet and not messing around with a cell phone.

It means driving your car more slowly and easing off the gas pedal.

When a motorist drives into another car, that second driver is surrounded by steel, air bags and plastic.

A bicyclist is a vulnerable road user. So when you crash into a bicyclist, the impact and subsequent injuries are exponentially more devastating.

From what I've seen in the metro Las Vegas area, there will be regrettably more bicyclist deaths. I don't see any political leadership on the issue, and there have been a few media stories out there about the need for more awareness but nothing more than that.

The Department of Motor Vehicles must hammer into driver's heads that bicyclists are everywhere and that they are equal co-users of our right-of-ways. You should not be able to hold a driver's license if you are unable to safely drive a car with a bicyclist in the road and the DMV needs to teach drivers how to respect a bicyclist's right to the road.

I helped put up too many memorial white bicycles in Tampa, Fla, when I worked on bicycle issues there when motorists were killing bicyclists on Florida.

And the same damn feeling of hurt and pain is going through my gut here in Las Vegas because too many bicyclists are getting killed.

Monday, August 10, 2015

RIP Matthew Hunt, Passionate Bicyclist

I didn't personally meet Matthew Hunt, a passionate Las Vegas bicyclist who was struck by a motorist while biking and leading a tour on the Strip a week ago on Aug. 3. It happened about 8 a.m. near Treasure Island hotel, typically a quiet time on the Strip.

The 37-year-old man died six days later on Sunday from injuries sustained from being hit from behind by a Ford Mustang driven by a 23-year-old woman. Matthew had suffered a head injury.

His death weighs heavy on the minds of local bicyclists who knew Matthew, who worked at McGhie's bike shop at one time and leaves a wife and two young children.

Matthew's wife and family made the decision to donate Matthew's organs so that others may live on and Matthew's legacy will endure.

Matthew's Gofundme link is here.

Tragically, Matt is at least the eighth bicyclist to be killed by a motorist in the Las Vegas Metro Police juirisdiction in 2015 -- a stunningly high number.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Seeing an Old Friend, Making a New Friend at Zion

It's a little masochistic to visit the fabulously scenic Zion National Park on a picture-perfect Saturday in mid-August with all the crowds of tourists filling the place and packing the entrance lines..

But when my ol' Florida pal and former running mate Mike Melton says he's going to be there, I make it a priority to blast the 175 miles from Vegas to get to Zion.

I got there a little earlier than Mike, who had to follow the torturous routine of waiting on line to pay for the 15 bucks to go through the walk-through entrance, then wait some more to get a shuttle bus to check out the Narrows, that signature last stop in the popular national park that is shattering attendance records this year.

Meanwhile, I was bicycling on the section of park roadway that is off-limits to cars and allows only shuttle buses and guests at the Zion Lodge.

I wrote about bicycling Zion in May and it was tremendous to see the park in full bloom with flowers and guests from around the world visiting in the middle of summer.

While cycling, I caught up with a fellow bicyclist named Dan from nearby St. George, who told me that he once spent all day biking the three-mile switchback road 22 times back when he was a lot younger.

Here he is, biking with me on the Zion Canyon road that leads to the Zion Lodge and Narrows.

Later, I met Mike at the Narrows and we chatted some and then we caught back up at the Lodge, which had a power outage and we decided to head back into Springdale for a late 3 p.m.lunch at Oscar's.

Mike was duly impressed with the scenery in Zion.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

10 Reasons To Visit Interbike

  1. The 2015 Interbike Fit Symposium - Fit is one of the key differentiating benefits that brick and mortar retailers can offer that online retailers can’t! Find out what you need to know.
  2. Mann University - These sessions usually cost $3000+ but you can attend the Mann U Leadership event and the Mann U Gear Training event free of charge.
  3. Retail Resource Initiative - Quick on floor sessions from retail experts with takeaway tools and resources to bring back to your store for immediate implementation.
  4. NBDA Super Seminars PLUS - Revitalized for 2015 with more seminars than ever before, focused and dynamic, with new speakers, new topics, and new ideas, it's a continuous blast of retail insight and inspiration.
  5. Electric Theatre Presented by Bosch - on floor education targeting e-Bike legislation, sales and marketing trends, current market growth, safety and more. Discover how you can increase sales and profitability by leveraging North America’s growing appetite for e-Bikes.
  6. North by Northwest Presented by Yakima - featuring the best of the homegrown brands that embody the flavor of the epicenter of cycling in the US. From urban commuting to rural touring and adventuring, learn simple and innovative solutions to make cycling easier, safer and more convenient for everyone.
  7. The Circuit Presented by Shimano - a purpose-built indoor test track featuring long straightaways, an s-curve, a hairpin turn plus a 34 foot e-bike power ramp provides real world proving grounds for the latest models.  
  8. OutDoor Demo - Get the hands-on product experience you need to educate your customers! From road to mountain, fat bikes to electric, test a wide array of products in the environments they were built for and enjoy great rides in an epic setting!
  9. EU@Interbike - Located in the new Hall E, this area spotlights European companies and products that are making their first ever splash into the North American markets. 
  10. Interbike Awards - An unforgettable night honoring achievements from the current product and race year. Hosted by "Last Comic Standing" winner Alonzo Bodden tickets include drinks and a top shelf sit-down dinner - it's the best ticket in town!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Interbike Returning To Boulder City for Outdoor Demo and Mandalay Bay for Trade Show

Interbike returns to Las Vegas from Sept. 14-18 and more than 1500 brands will be exhibiting at the Mandalay Bay convention center.

“I get frustrated when I hear people say that they can see everything online, or that there’s not anything new to see at Interbike by the time the show arrives,” said Pat Hus, Vice President of Interbike. “I am going to assume that many of these naysayers haven’t been to the show in many years, and haven’t seen how it’s evolved. No matter how many private events you attend, there is just no way you’ll have seen all that will be revealed at Interbike. Smart brands (big and small) are using the opportunity to let retailers see, touch and experience products first-hand, for the very first time. We understand the role that the private events play in this new ecosystem, but Interbike is about so much more and one of those things is learning about all of the other amazing innovations that are being launched by great companies at our event. This is the life blood of our industry.”

While several well-known brands such as Look, Timbuk2, Guru, and Polar are set to show new product at Interbike, many others have indicated the same. Some examples include:

BIKES: New road, TT and BMX bikes will be shown from Fuji, SE and Look while TykesBykes and Sound of Fun plan to launch new models in the juvenile category. Yuba, Wallerang, Lectric Cycles and Rechargeable Power Energy will show off new e-bikes, while Nimble Scooters and JD Components Co. will present the latest in e-scooter technology.

LOCKS: Brands such as ABUS, Litelok, Pinhead Components, and Noke are all planning to launch new and exciting security and lock solutions. From Bluetooth Enabled locks to new bracket systems and lighter-weight locks, brands in this category plan to have plenty to show attendees.

COMPONENTS/TIRES/TOOLS: Kore Components will show a new MTB chainring designed to stop chains from jumping off over rough terrain, and Lauf Forks will show their new lightweight fatbike and XC suspension forks. New tire models will be shown from Innova and Tannus, while Finish Line, White Lightning and ARtech will launch new cleaning and lubricant products from their respective category.

ACCESSORIES/SOFTWARE: A new camera from Cycliq will offer a headlight+HD feature, while brands like Brooklyn Bicycle Co and Steadyrack will show new on-bike storage and efficient wall-mounted racks when off the bike. Sigma Sport, Activeallbrite, Auroras Light and Knog plan to show their latest in bike light technology, WOHO and Full Windsor will have their new multi-tools on-hand and GURU will showcase its new Bike Discovery software product.

APPAREL/HELMETS: Kask plans to enter the MTB category with their new REX helmet developed with Mountain Bike Hall of Famer Nat Ross, and TSG International will have their new BMX helmet with technology that is designed to flex and mold to your head while exceeding safety standards. Zoca will also be showing their new one-piece speed suit made out of hydrophobic material.

September 16-18, 2015.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Mid-Summer Bicycling Dream In Big Bear

BIG BEAR, CALIF. -- It was the last rest stop for the Tour de Big Bear, a bicycle ride that attracted some 1,700 cyclists in this scenic mountain setting in early August and capped a week-long bicycle celebration in the tourist Southern California town an hour outside Los Angeles.

Las Vegas bicyclist Linda Snyder, a cancer survivor who needed a little help while pedaling with her husband, Matt, saw Tour de Big Bear organizer Craig Smith and thanked the likable Smith for allowing her to ride an electric bike on her 25-mile circuit.

Snyder told Smith she needed the e-bike to keep up with husband Matt and told the ride organizer that she and her husband were having a great time on the ride, which features fun rest stops offering everything from a bacon to a mist-powered bicycle wash.

"It's a well organized event," Matt Snyder told Smith.

Smith, who works from his home on land development projects and starts to crank on the Big Bear bicycle event after Jan. 1, smiled and shook Snyder's hand.

He walked back to his car to head back to the bike ride base and said, "It's all about bringing people to Big Bear and experiencing the small town atmosphere."

*   *  *

Smith is the perfect bicycle event organizer -- level-headed, detail-oriented, affable and quick with a natural greeting for the serious cyclist or the casual pedaller like the Snyders of Las Vegas.

He oversees 275 volunteers and eight aid stations for routes that range from 25 to 100 miles. At the village in Big Bear where the ski slopes are green mountains overlooking the riders, 40 vendors are offering bicycling everything from Fat Tire beers to bicycle clothing like colorful jerseys.

The Big Bear community is used to bicycling since it's sometimes a host stage for the Amgen Tour de California, a bike race held annually in May by the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG also is a partner with MGM Resorts on the new arena being built on the Strip.)

Smith has the backing of the city, which supplies the public works manpower to put on the event. The city also joins the school district and local churches to offer free parking for the cyclists near the ride's staging area.

As a result, the Tour de Big Bear has grown into the city's third biggest event, trailing only the fireworks and car show events and it's the biggest sports event in Big Bear, said Smith, pictured below in the blue shirt.

The bicycle events, which run for a week, generate about $750,000 in local spending thanks to the hundreds of bicyclists coming from San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas and even Colorado and the state of Washington.

Smith said he wants to appeal to the Las Vegases and Phoenixes to send their bicyclists to Big Bear, which is hosting its sixth bicycle event.

"We telling them it's a time of the year to get out of the desert," Smith said.

The scenery is a big lure.

*  *  *

One of the unique features is the tasty food at the eight rest stops. The hammerheads pedaling 100 miles might pull in for a quick nosh and water break, but casual recreational bicyclists enjoy schmoozing with friends and socializing.

For the cyclists riding the century distance, there are smoothies at the top of the mountain to refresh them. At the first stop, there were strips of bacon sizzling on a fryer.

Other stops have beef ribs and a chocolate fountain with fruit, with the last stop offering popsicles -- or "pop-cycles."

*  *  *

The vendors included two well-known bicycle brands -- Specialized and Cannondale, which allowed bicyclists to demo their bikes. It was fun to chat with Andrew at Specialized, who has visited the Las Vegas Cyclery, a big Specialized dealer in Las Vegas.

One of the bicycles at the Specialized tent even had this bike seat -- an ISM saddle. I met ISM founder Steve Toll about 10 years in Tampa when I worked at the Tampa Tribune and did a business story on Steve's new bike saddles that have turned out to be one of the most popular in the bicycle industry.

I'll be back to Big Bear. It's going to become a SoCal mountain bicycle mecca.